Hes right that the little guy is being screwed by the system. The problem is, hes the embodiment of it
What is the worst thing about Donald Trump? The lies? The racist stereotypes? The misogyny? The alleged gropings? The apparent refusal to accept democratic outcomes? All these are bad enough. But theyre not the worst. The worst thing about Donald Trump is that hes the man in the mirror.
We love to horrify ourselves with his excesses, and to see him as a monstrous outlier, the polar opposite of everything a modern, civilised society represents. But he is nothing of the kind. He is the distillation of all that we have been induced to desire and admire. Trump is so repulsive not because he offends our civilisations most basic values, but because he embodies them.
Trump personifies the traits promoted by the media and corporate worlds he affects to revile; the worlds that created him. He is the fetishisation of wealth, power and image in a nation where extrinsic values are championed throughout public discourse. His conspicuous consumption, self-amplification and towering (if fragile) ego are in tune with the dominant narratives of our age.
As the recipient of vast inherited wealth who markets himself as solely responsible for his good fortune, he is the man of our times. The US Apprentice TV show which he hosted tells the story of everything he is not: the little guy dragging himself up from the bottom through enterprise and skill. None of this distinguishes him from the majority of the very rich, whose entrepreneurial image, loyally projected by the media, clashes with their histories of huge bequests, government assistance, monopolies and rent-seeking.
If his politics differ from those of the rest of the modern Republican party, it is because he is, in some respects, more liberal. Every vice, for the Republican trailblazers such as Ted Cruz and Scott Walker, is now a virtue; every virtue a vice. Encouraged by the corporate media, the Republicans have been waging a full-spectrum assault on empathy, altruism and the decencies we owe to other people. Their gleeful stoving in of faces, their cackling destruction of political safeguards and democratic norms, their stomping on all that is generous and caring and cooperative in human nature, have turned the party into a game of Mortal Kombat scripted by Breitbart News.
Did Trump invent the xenophobia and racism that infuse his campaign? Did he invent his conspiracy theories about stolen elections and the criminality of his opponents? No. They were there all along. What is new and different about him is that he has streamlined these narratives into a virulent demagoguery. But the opportunity has been building for years; all that was required was someone blunt and unscrupulous enough to take it.
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